As kids, we are surrounded by the idea of family, because we are living it all the time. For most of us, it’s engrained socially and culturally from the very beginning. Having a family is an expected part of existence and is often assumed that eventually, we will do the same thing.
But, when did you know that’s what you wanted?
I remember growing up and playing house. I was always “Victoria,” modeled after my favorite book/show/movie, “Black Beauty.” Yes, I was one of those horsey girls. No dolls; just Breyer™ horses, riders, stables, tack, paddocks, and jumps.
I don’t ever remember being a mom when I played house with my friends, other than the mother horse with her baby foals.
BUT, I DO remember the day, the precise moment I KNEW I wanted to be a real mom!
I was babysitting three young girls for the evening. I was 14. Their dad left to get the car out of the garage, and mom finished giving me final instructions about dinner and bedtime routines. I was listening, but my attention was focused on the youngest.
She was weaving in and out of her mom’s legs, like a figure-eight. She stopped, glanced at me with a smile, then looked at her mom with absolute adoration. She gave her mom a final big leg squeeze and scampered off with her sisters. The love, the wave of warmth and security, that flowed between them was palpable. I knew I wanted THAT! I wanted to love someone that much and have that little person love me back THAT MUCH!
I recognized that love because I, fortunately, had a mom that made me feel the same way…even as a TEENAGER! (Thanks, Mom! 33333!!!)
Of course, I didn’t want to be a mom right away. But from that day forward, it was always part of my grand plan. I wanted to go to college and grad school, start my career, and find a lifelong partner, but that all came second to the idea of one day starting a family. I knew that no matter what I did for my job, I would be a mom first. My family would come first.
Fast forward a couple (a few???) decades, and I AM a mom first. I am a mom to three amazing little ones, who grow bigger and more mature every day. I chose my career path because it fit my interests, but also because it supported my desire to be a mom first. When I share with friends, today, that in college I knew I wanted a career that allowed me to be a mom first while also working, they were shocked.
“You planned your career out of college around your future family?”
Yes, because it was that important to me.
I also chose a man who wanted to have a family, though he didn’t know it until he met mine (at least that’s what he just shared with me!).
Now we have our kids, and I am Mom first. So, what now?
Sure, I get the figure-eight weaving, the leg hugs, the smooches, the love, but being a mom is so much more. What’s my purpose now? I have them, so what do I DO with them? What is my vision for them, for me, and for us? I never thought about the “why” in my early days…just the “what!” Well, now I am living in, sometimes drowning in the why. But, at other times, I’m clueless with an utter lack of clarity.
But, despite some of the back and forth, here is what I DO know.
Our kids are our legacy. They are who we will leave behind.
Our kids are us, my husband and me, looking in the mirror. They reflect who we are and provide an unfiltered view of our good, bad, and ugly.
Our kids are a constant reminder to be compassionate with ourselves and others, to have patience and perseverance.
Our kids inspire us to be courageous and speak, write, dance, and sing our truth.
Our kids provide daily practice to connect meaningfully on a deeper level, to get to know someone better and to ask questions that make us all ponder.
Our kids are a catalyst for personal growth, the best reason to want to be a better version of ourselves every day.
Our kids are our future. The way we raise them will be carried on in their being long past childhood, and eventually passed on to their children.
So, what’s my vision, my purpose now?
To love myself more, so I can pass that love, security, loyalty, and trust on to them.
To show them through my practice that risking is essential, and that they have a support system waiting to help them get back up again.
To accept myself more, so I can judge them less and instead set them free to soar in their way.
To give them the best foundation I know how through life-long learning and doing, daily practice, and patience for everyone.
To be committed to our family team unit, where we work together to form and hold each other accountable to rules and boundaries. This discipline will facilitate more confidence, security, responsibility, and freedom. Everyone will soar.
I’m sure I’m only touching upon a few, and that if I sat for days, weeks, or years, I would come up with a much longer, different list. But, this is where I am today, and today is what counts.
Love being a mom! It is truly a gift.
With much love, share it with your littles!
And, please, leave comments below, telling your story of when you knew and why! I’d love to hear!